Saturday, November 19, 2016

Civil War Too

Imagine life in 1930. In America, reeling from the impact of the 1929 stock market crash, a citizen would look backward to get some bearings. Stopping to think of major historical conflicts, you had "The Great War" of 1914-1918 and the "Civil War" of 1861-1865. Such names. War is not great. It's horrible. But it was "great" in the sense of "incredibly massive". One nickname was "The War to End All Wars". Makes sense. Following such massive casualties, all of humanity lost in a big way. Especially the tens of millions who died, a statistic beyond comprehension. Surely the world would not be so foolish again. Surely the world would find a way to avoid even the possibility of large scale war.

The "Civil War" in America was anything but civil. "Civil" usually refers to the opposite of warlike, but the name has stuck so far. The names of wars change for different reasons. So "The Great War" gave way to another great war. Somehow "Another Great War" or "New Great War" are not a great names, so we have "World War I" and "World War II".

The "Civil War", despite its staying power, may not last. Usually, when angry people win elections, the anger subsides, but we are seeing anger increase in some segments of the population with not so random violence -- attacks on people who "look different" or are "different" in some way. In response, I suggest we come together as a people now and name the next war before it begins in earnest.  No, not "Civil War II" or "Civil War Too". Let's go with the "Incivil War". That term captures the incivility of a segment of the population whose candidate won, but still feels so angry because, well, just because.

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